Bruce Springsteen has tapped the E Street Band's legendary July 9th, 1981 performance at New Jersey's Brendan Byrne Arena as his latest monthly vault release. The show, in which all net proceeds will be given to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, was the sixth and final night “The Boss” played the just-opened East Rutherford venue.
Highlights on the set include Gary U.S. Bonds guesting on a pair of songs, including the Springsteen-written and E Street Band-backed Top 11 hit, “This Little Girl,” covers of Tom Waits' “Jersey Girl” — which was originally released in 1984 as the B-side to “Cover Me,” Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Who'll Stop The Rain?,” Woody Guthrie's “This Land Is Your Land,” Elvis Presley's “Follow That Dream,” and Jimmy Cliff's “Trapped.” Also featured is Springsteen's then-still-unreleased Elvis Presley tribute, “Bye Bye Johnny.”
Bruce Springsteen, who throughout the tour behind The River was becoming more politically minded and socially conscious, maintains that he was able to get a better grasp on what was happening back home in America and the lives of its citizens, by comparing the two cultures at the time: “It was the early-‘80s, I think the sense of the violence that was in the air on a daily basis (laughs) sometimes was. . . I think one of the things we noticed when we went to Europe was it just seemed less. Either it was reported differently, it was contextualized differently, it was a different type of violence, and I think that for me, personally, that was something that I really noticed at that time and made me very sad, actually. I was 30, having kids was on the horizon in some fashion. The way things went out to you, whether it was through television. . . it was just much more aggressive. Abusive. Truly abusive. I experienced less of that in Europe. It seemed to make more sense.”
The long shadow of Elvis Presley looms large over the newly released Brendan Byrne concert. During his 2012 keynote address at Austin's South By Southwest music festival, Bruce Springsteen recalled seeing Elvis Presley debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9th, 1956: “It was the evening that I realized that a white man could create magic. That you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self. A certain type of transformative self that perhaps at any other moment in American history might've seemed difficult, if not impossible.”
The tracklisting to Brendan Byrne Arena – East Rutherford, NJ – July 9, 1981 is: “Thunder Road,” “Prove It All Night,” “The Ties That Bind,” “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” “Follow That Dream,” “Independence Day,” “Who'll Stop The Rain?,” “Two Hearts,” “The Promised Land,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “The River,” “Trapped,” “Out In The Street,” “Badlands,” “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch),” “Cadillac Ranch,” “Sherry Darling,” “Hungry Heart,” “Jole Blon,” “This Little Girl,” “Johnny Bye-Bye,” “Racing In The Street,” “Ramrod,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Jersey Girl,” “Jungleland,” “Born To Run,” and “Detroit Medley”